A native of southern California, Darla Opava began riding as a child. Starting in western pleasure, equitation, and gymkhana, she switched to hunters while still a junior - retraining her horse herself - and went on to be a successful competitor in both disciplines throughout her youth. After graduating from college, Darla continued riding and was recruited by friends and colleagues to teach and train themselves, their children, and their horses. Always intrigued by eventing, she garnered a spot in Pennsylvania working, teaching and training at a well established eventing barn. While there she enjoyed many east coast opportunities including riding at Radnor and Devon.
When Darla returned to California, her clientele steadily grew. In addition to having spent time as a trainer at several southern California facilities, she was also an instructor at a therapeutic riding program for disabled children. Eventually, high demand led her to establish her own training business and Opava Eventing. She has trained with Grand Prix and international level instructors in dressage, jumpers, and eventing. Darla has won numerous awards and competitive placings on her own and client horses, plus year end and American Eventing Championship qualifications. She is a USEA Level-1 Training Certified Instructor, and is also an eventing technical delegate and a local hunter/jumper judge.
With over 40 years of riding and showing experience, Darla brings to her teaching a wide knowledge base. Her philosophy is to teach and train with confidence in a relaxed manner where progression is not measured by competitive scale but by her clients needs, comfort, and ability level. She has a strong reputation for being honest, fair, and technically attuned to each student. She is sought after for her compassion and humor, and is known for restoring a persons' - and horses' - lost or shaken confidence - and guiding them back to their best and beyond.
Opava Equestrian Training Center
Find out what you can learn from USEA Certified Instructor Darla Opava. Opava Eventing is a personal, friendly, first class training program for both horse and rider, encompassing everything from allowing a client to simply enjoy their passion for horses to becoming an accomplished and successful competitor in a variety of disciplines. Becausse of Darla's attention to detail, and her eye and understanding of true horse/rider communication, she is able to give specialized instruction tailored to each riders' and/or horses' need.